A mild Covid-19 infection that cannot cause lasting damage to the structure or function of the heart


According to a study led by researchers at UCL (University College London) and funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and Barts Charity, mild Covid-19 infection is unlikely to cause lasting damage to the structure or function of the color.

The researchers say the results, published in JACC cardiovascular imaging, they should reassure the public as they relate to the vast majority of people who had Covid-19 infections with or without mild symptoms.

This study of 149 health workers recruited from Barts Health and Royal Free London NHS Trusts is the largest and most detailed study to date on mild Covid-19 infection and its long-term impact on the heart. Concern remains that, since severe hospitalized Covid-19 infections are associated with blood clots, heart inflammation, and heart damage, mild infections can cause similar complications. However, until now there was little information about this group of people and the effects on the heart below after infection.

The researchers identified participants with Covid-19 mild COVIDsortium, a study conducted at three hospitals in London where health workers had passed weekly samples of blood, saliva and nasal swabs for 16 weeks. Six months after the mild infection, they examined the structure and function of the heart using cardiac MRI analysis of 74 health workers with a previous mild Covid-19 and compared them with 75-year-old controls. healthy, sex, and ethnicity who had not been previously infected.

They found no difference in the size or amount of muscle in the left ventricle (the main chamber of the heart responsible for pumping blood around the body) or its ability to pump blood from the heart. The amount of inflammation and scarring in the heart and the elasticity of the aorta, which is important for blood to flow easily from the heart, remained the same between the two groups.

When the researchers analyzed blood samples, they found no differences in the two markers of muscle damage (troponin and NT-proBNP) six months after mild Covid-19 infection.

Now, the team of researchers and cardiologists suggests that there are few benefits in detecting the heart of people who have had a mild infection and research should focus on those who have suffered severe covid-19, groups of ‘high risk or continued symptoms. .

Undoing the impact that Covid-19 has on the heart has been a challenge. But now we are in the pandemic stage, where we can begin to understand the long-term implications that Covid-19 has on the health of our heart and blood vessels.

We have been able to take advantage of our amazing frontline staff who have been exposed to the virus this past year and we are pleased to show that most people who have had Covid-19 do not seem to be at increased risk of developing future heart complications. We now need to focus on the long-term impact of the virus on those most affected by the disease. “

Dr. Thomas Treibel, UCL Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and Barts Health NHS Trust

Dr Sonya Babu-Narayan, associate medical director of the British Heart Foundation and cardiologist consultant, said: “These findings a year after the onset of the pandemic are a reassurance to the hundreds of thousands of people who have experienced Covid-19 with mild problems or no symptoms.

“Throughout the pandemic, BHF researchers have advanced research into the short- and long-term effects of Covid-19 on the heart and circulatory system. There is still much more work to be done, but for now it seems that the the good news is that Covid-19’s disease does not appear to be related to lasting heart damage. “

There were small abnormalities identified by MRI, but they were not found more often in people who had a mild Covid-19 than in those who never had it. The changes could have been caused by something other than the coronavirus and may not have made any noticeable difference in that person’s health.

This study was a collaboration between researchers from UCL, Barts Health NHS Trust, Queen Mary University of London and Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, and the results are presented this weekend as a Young Investigator Award at the EuroCMR meeting .


Newspaper reference:

Alegria, G., et al. (2021) Prospective case study and control of cardiovascular abnormalities 6 months after mild COVID-19 in health care workers. JACC: Cardiovascular imaging. doi.org/10.1016/j.jcmg.2021.04.011.

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